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CBS and ABC played to petty jealousies on Thursday night. Both aired silly stories which contrasted the large retirement package, earned by former ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Lee Raymond, with the average retiree income or the burden rising gas prices supposedly put on a typical family. CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer announced: “The average American enters the golden years -- retirement -- expecting to live on less than $30,000 a year, and that includes Social Security. Well, it turns out to be a little more golden than that if you run a big oil company,” as if it's news that a successful executive, just like a network anchor, would retire with more than the average income. Reporter Anthony Mason proceeded to hype the biggest number possible -- “Lee Raymond is being rewarded in his retirement with a breathtaking package worth nearly $400 million” -- though that counts stocks and options which will take years to amass. Mason concluded by pointing out how Raymond made $190,000 a day in 2005 while “the average American worker...earns $43,000 a year." The Washington Post reported that Raymond may just get $8 million a year for his pension -- half what CBS will pay Katie Couric to read a tele-prompter for a half hour a night.

ABC's World News Tonight featured a “First Person” account from a man who claimed rising gas prices are “forcing him to change the way he and his family live their life.” Gary McIlroy used his ABC platform to lash out: “The oil companies continue to have soaring profits and soaring prices. And the American people are the ones taking it. We're the ones being gouged. So I sent a letter to the White House, saying, you know, we can't take this anymore if prices continue to go up and our paychecks are staying the same.” Vargas then ludicrously linked gas prices to Raymond's compensation, as if supply and demand have nothing to do with it: “Those high gas prices, in the meantime, are helping finance one of the richest retirement packages in U.S. corporate history. Former ExxonMobil Chairman Lee Raymond received compensation worth nearly $400 million when he retired last year.” Unmentioned by Vargas: How the chief of Disney, which owns ABC, got a lot more when he departed. (Transcripts follow.)

Over at CBS's Public Eye blog, "Face the Nation" executive producer Carin Pratt sounds typical liberal-media notes: she wants more coverage of the planet's demise, loathes bloggers, and loves John McCain:

What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?

The environment. Although with the global warming situation hard to ignore, I figure that will change...

Reporter joins chain store critic in attacking Wal-Marts low prices.

Magazines special Green Issue a vehicle for liberal environmental advocacy.

If you've ever wondered how it is that some ostensibly "independent" photographers and cameramen just happen to be at the right place before terrorists strike in Iraq and elsewhere, head over to Michelle Malkin's blog where she has a lengthy, very well-researched post tracking the story of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein.

Hussein was one of several photogs who have a peculiar habit of being in the vicinity before terrorists launched attacks, causing many bloggers to wonder whether he and others were, in fact, colluding with terrorists.

That allegation may be more than just that, however. According to a Malkin source, Hussein was arrested in Iraq with a cache of weapons in conjunction with the anti-American insurgency. In an email to Malkin, the AP confirmed that it had heard reports of the photographer's detention.

A story in the NYT this morning concerning the run-off election of disgraced former Congressman Duke Cunningham’s congressional seat has a curious number of liberal activists quoted, when compared to the number of those from the other side of Cunningham's corner.

Before we get to the bias, here is the line-up of “experts:” Polisci. prof. Stephen Erie, Dem. Congressional Caucus leader Rahm Emanuel, International Editor Patrick Goodenough reported Thursday on MTV's Jesus-mocking in Germany:

On last night's Hardball, Newsweek's Evan Thomas stated that he believed the primary reason for the war in Iraq was to "teach Arabs a lesson" after 9/11. Again, what liberal media?

Yesterday, Times Watch wondered when the New York Times would correct its front-page story from last Friday suggesting the White House and Lewis Libby had willfully misled reporters on an intelligence finding on Saddam Hussein’s quest for uranium, a story based on bad information released by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s office had to correct its court filing on Tuesday.

Matt Drudge reports that ABC will likely pull the plug on "Commander in Chief," a show already on life support. Of course, to keep things interesting, the president's husband is going to grope an intern. They figure it kept Clinton in office, so why not them?

David S. Hirschman, online editor of Editor and Publisher, wonders what newspaper editors can do to "reclaim their power as arbiters of public taste." With the advent of blogs, no longer does a "small coterie of journalists" decide what is important. It's not likely that ten years ago Editor and Publisher would have admitted publicly the power wielded by so few editors and TV heads, but now the cat is out of the bag.

As has been noted here before, the surest way for a Republican to get himself invited onto a broadcast network news show and accorded respectful treatment is to be prepared to take shots at the Bush administration.

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller submitted to an "Ask the Editors" Q&A session online, and the denials of a liberal bias were insistent. When one questioner decried the opinions of liberal columnists Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd, and then suggested it's ludicrous that the Times was equally comfortable with Democrats or Republicans, Keller replied:

On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann led with the current controversy about President Bush and other administration officials claiming they had found biological weapons labs in Iraq even after a report had concluded that this was not the case.

Forget the lack of evidence, we have our story of presidential duplicity and we're sticking with it. Picking up on a front page Washington Post story about how back in May of 2003 President Bush had cited trailers found in Iraq as proof of WMD, when a secret field report filed two days earlier had concluded the trailers had nothing to do with bio-weapons, on Wednesday morning ABC's Charles Gibson trumpeted how Bush made a statement he "knew at the time that was not true" and so it's “another embarrassment for the White House.” Reporter Martha Raddatz agreed “it certainly is.” But though as reported by FNC's Carl Cameron, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan pointed out at the Wednesday briefing that the day before Bush's 2003 comments a joint CIA/DIA report had concluded the trailers were bio-weapons labs, ABC's World News Tonight plowed ahead Wednesday night, ignoring the more substantial report which had much-wider distribution -- and CNN's Jack Cafferty (“ABC News has even reported that President Bush knew what he was saying about those trailers was false”), as well as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann (“The President knew they weren't mobile weapons labs from the very start. How Nixonian is this? We will ask John Dean"), piled on.

Cameron relayed on Special Report with Brit Hume: “Defense Intelligence Agency command issued a joint report with the CIA that said they were weapons labs. The six-page document titled 'Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants' concluded that there could be no other purpose for the trailers beyond biological weapons....Waving that report, the White House spokesman said it was the basis of the President's remarks.” Raddatz acknowledged in her Wednesday World News Tonight story that “the White House said today the President, at the time, believed his statement to be true," but skipped the powerful evidence of how the White House had received an official intelligence report backing up the WMD discovery. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas set up the Raddatz piece: “Tonight, questions about claims the President and members of his administration made in 2003. They said two trailers in Iraq were mobile weapons labs, proof Saddam Hussein had been developing weapons of mass destruction. The problem was, a Pentagon team had already determined the trailers had nothing to do with WMD.” (More and transcripts follow)